I was proud to see Prime Minister Stephen Harper stand up to Russia in Ukraine. Of course, I am no foreign policy expert, and Harper may have been acting at the behest of other world leaders that have too much skin in the game already. Germany, England and the U.S. come to mind.
If you think about it, Russia would have a bit of a mess if it tried to bully Canada. In my mind, Canada probably could not outright win an open war with Russia. Again, I don’t know, but that’s my impression. On the other hand, if Canada were attacked by Russia and entered into open war, it is hard to imagine that Germany, England and the U.S. would leave us to our own devices. For that reason — the certain involvement of the entire Allied Command of WWII (except Russia, of course) — it is possible Canada is simply the advance guard.
Still, it looks good on Harper. As an interested reader of WWII history, it looks to me as if the annexation of Crimea and the incursion into Ukraine are frightfully reminiscent of Germany’s occupation of Czechoslovakia and Austria.
In that context, I keep thinking about leadership and what leadership means in our everyday lives. For example, we often discuss North America’s former leadership in manufacturing worldwide. As we know, that was lost as jobs and businesses moved offshore to take advantage of lower costs and availability of transportation and resources. One wonders whether, in the 1800s, people in Germany and Austria viewed the arrival of North American goods the way we viewed the arrival of Japanese goods in the late ’70s? If so, it appears they developed the leadership to distinguish their domestic goods from others, and the political will to protect their own infrastructure.
Between us and the States, we seem to have filled the vacuum at the top of our GDPs with entertainment. And who doesn’t love entertainment? We paid our movie stars as if they were royalty and adopted the political musings of our singers as if they were Gospel. All the while, we were only idolizing jesters, minstrels and actors that, in European courts, would have received a moderate allowance. Shakespeare seemed to think little of a king that would defer to the opinions of an entertainer. I wonder if he had a point. Kim Basinger posing nude for bus panels decrying the use of fur comes to mind, as does Miley Cyrus’s “gender fluidity.” Is this crap necessary?
But I digress. It is clear we have handed over the leadership of our youth to almost anything opposite to what once was called a virtue. I am no Pollyanna, but if we don’t like chastity, can’t we at least stop short of twerking? (Odd I should write that word. It seems as if nobody knows it is a contraction of two words, and means she’s jerking something.) Or if we don’t value honour, must we then pay Michael Moore for his political ideas? Or duty? Or loyalty? Which pop culture icons promote wisdom, justice, and courage?
Then, in an almost cruel turn of fortune’s wheel, the popsters are about to lose it all. The once-golden world of pop music, for example, has become one where once again a singer must sing for his or her supper, and not much more. Scarcely an act below super-stardom can make it now selling albums. They are back to serving a boss.
So, what’s next? What will be the next top-performer in North America’s GDPs? I like to think it will return to reality. Entertainment is entertaining, but the internet, YouTube, satellite everything and the infinite capacity of the digital world for theft and suppression leave me thinking the future will return to reality. That the current status is not an infinite curve off into the void, but, rather, the classic, swinging of a pendulum. That our societies, having once again crept to the brink of social insanity, have seen enough and will retreat, once more, to boring, old, staid, value-based production of goods and services by real people in real time for real benefits.
After all, if the zombie apocalypse comes, we will all still need a house, an office, a coffee shop and a school to look back and shake our heads and be amazed that it all was not real.